What’s your name, title and how long have you been working in your current role here?
My name is Matthew (Matt) Atkins and I’ve been working in my current role as Human Resources Administrator since January 2020.
What other roles have you had in the agency if any?
I started my career with CASS as a full-time Community Support Worker with CADO in August 2017. Currently, I support an individual on Sundays on a part-time basis.
What experience do you have providing direct support to people if any (doesn’t need to be in a work capacity, it can be friends, family, volunteering etc.)?
I have 4.5 years of experience directly supporting people at CASS. In my previous work life, I supported up to 40 staff as an Employee Development Assistant with UPS. I have also worked 5 years with Scotiabank where I supported a client portfolio of over 1000 as a Financial Advisor and Manager of Customer Service.
What do you want the community to know about the people we serve?
I would like the community to know that those we support are the most creative, dynamic, and genuine people I have ever met!
How do you help improve disability inclusion in our community?
I try to involve the person I support in fun activities like movies, car shows, and walks around the block to help positively immerse them in their community and surroundings.
How does your cultural background and/or lived experience contribute to your work here?
My life’s experience has drawn me to work for an agency that provides opportunities for positive outcomes with those that need it the most. Years ago, I realized that I wasn’t happy with how I was contributing to my community. CASS gave me the chance to discover my true element, which is helping people using a harm reduction approach. Working as a Community Support Worker and as an HR Administrator with CASS has allowed me to hone in on my empathy skills and encourages me to share my true self with others.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from the people we serve?
I’ve learned that there’s no room for judgement in our line of work. Judgement is an unnecessary roadblock that impedes developing trust with those we support or work with. Trust is sacred, and must always be demonstrated without judgement or personal biases.
What is your favourite part about working at Calgary Alternative Support Services?
My favourite part about working for CASS is how well the agency takes care of those they support. All staff are provided the crucial training needed, and they have constant support from their coordinators and managers to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the clients.
Looking back, what have you achieved here that you are most proud of?
I’ve come to understand myself more, grown stronger as a person, and have learned to be an advocate for people with disabilities.
What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
I love to read and usually try to sneak in a good book whenever I have the chance. I’m a big sports fan and enjoy catching a live hockey game at the Saddledome or cheering the Blue Jays on at home in baseball. I enjoy waking up early and going to the gym(cross-fit) for the 05:30 class 5 or 6 times a week.